One Hundred and Sixty Candles

One Hundred and Sixty Candles

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I can't quite comprehend a birthday party for something that has existed for 160 years.  That's a lot of decades.  That's not just a flimsy milestone of an excuse to have a party.  For comparative purposes, for example Selfridges practically closed Oxford Street down with their centenary celebration shenanigans.  So onto the subject at hand, Lane Crawford, Hong Kong Instititution (with a capital I) of a department store turns 160 – a time period that has spanned six generation of shoppers.  Jennifer Woo, the president of Lane Crawford, said at the IHT Luxury conference a few weeks ago, that the question with their 160th birthday was how to celebrate it by both looking forward and to the past in the right way. 

Seeing as I've not yet attended a 150+ years birthday bash before, I don't really have anything to compare this to but all I can say is that where it could have been an intensely dry affair with a lot of self-congratulation ("Yes!  We're ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY years old!") and back-patting, instead, we got a night blending old, new, East, West, expected, unexpected, fun, FUN and a slight element of the juvenile – perfect for loosening up and jolting the jaded, weary and jet-lagged, the last of which applied to me as I had only been in Hong Kong for less than 24 hours. 

First up, I have to put on my amateur design/typography admirer cap on and say that I loved the little decorative touches that cements Lane Crawford's penchant for fusion, like the origami fortune teller invite (I dared someone to go shoplift sweets from the corner shop using one of those), the mimicry of the neon signs that pepper Hong Kong's streets reading "Lane Crawford Happy Birthday" as well as the graffiti interpretation of Lane Crawford's Chinese name. 

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The theme for the day was PLAY which was extended to customers during the day and then lit up the big bash party at night…

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…where guests were welcomed by… well, actually I'm not sure how I should describe these gals.  There were a few Lady Gaga-esque trussed up models wandering around to provide erm…visual entertainment? 

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The PLAY element was really what brought on the FUN throghout the night, with an arcade/fun fair theme that was set up throughout the store with ice-cream, candy floss and popcorn carts dotted about.  The games set up around the store sadly bought out a very ugly competitive spirit in me, not evident since the days I made my sister cry whilst playing Monopoly.  Hey, competition makes games FUN right?  I might be manically yelling expletives, sweating profusely whilst holding a fistful of token coins (you needed them to play the games) and taking what is essentially a pee wee sized air hockey table a liiiiitle bit too seriously but it's all FUN…no really!

I wasn't going to waste my time with these claw machines which I've always suspected were set up NOT to let you win a single thing.  Or else you win utter crap.  At the Lane Crawford bash though, the point was to try as hard as they might to give away prizes such as 3.1 Phillip Lim dresses, Lanvin backpacks, Givenchy coats and token prizes such as MAC products and Elle MacPherson lingerie so that practically everyone went away gift-happy…

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What sort of an arcade is it without a novelty photobooth?  Those that have been to the sticker machine joints in Asia will have seen our sick fascination with holding our fingers a peace sign joined by a wide-eyed cheesy smile…

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I didn't play the claw machines, the ping pong tables or the car racing arcade game but my eyes were firmly on the prize and air hockey was going to be the game of choice for bagging a few prizes.  "Vicious" was what Steve described my playing style as.  You might be witnessing smiles here but the puck kept on flying off the table towards Bryan Boy, my worthy opponent.  Well played, sir!  I bagged some Lanvin cuff links for Steve and a leather jacket by Japanese label Attachment (worth ¬£1000 – sorry, I know it's lame but it's pretty satisfying that they put the product value on the prize label) that slipped onto my outfit in a weird seamless way…

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My arms were in such a hive of activity, they practically disappeared on camera…

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One of the prizes up for grabs also represented one of the collaborations that Lane Crawford has done with designers to reinterpret Chinese classics.  This Agent Provocateur lace take on a traditional cheong sam dress was pretty spectacular and dare I say the loveliest thing I've seen by the lingerie label…. the contrast between the demure cut of the dress with the see-through lace is a pretty potent combination. 

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Other pieces from the celebratory and collaborative pieces include this Maison Martin Margiela take on the Mao jacket and Thakoon's hook n' eye take on the cheong sam dress…

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Fun and games aside, this fusion that so typifies much of Hong Kong's intrinsic character – of old and new, of East and West (cliches that are ALWAYS evident in this city…) was also on display through specially commissioned art pieces such as this extraordinary paper cut installation entitled "Spirited Away", a fantasy paper typhoon  created by British born artists Sum Sum Tse and Pauline Yau. 

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Another old/new contrast with a display of Alaia shoes against a Chinese watercolour painting…alright, the link is slightly tenous.  I really am just posting this because the shoes are immense…

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Lane Crawford could have drawn out their 160 year history in a longer sweeping stroke but in this case, fortunately it was succinctly represented by a photo wall and instead projects such as the collaborative pieces above were the main focus…

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I'm impressed by the moustache activity going on in this pic…

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Confetti and cake were always going to be a given and extravagant birthday cakes are something of an obsession here in Hong Kong.  Part of the crowd then broke into a flash mob dance routine, busting moves to Katy Perry's Teenage Dreams which thanks to Glee has been entirely rejuvenated in my eyes (sorry Gleek Out moment there…). 

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Like I said, my hard-fought prize (alright I cheated and got a few cheeky goals when Bryan wasn't looking…) went straight on my back only because the Crayola colours of the buttery soft Attachment jacket were meshing well with the Orangina fest that is my Opening Ceremony x Tron Legacy neoprene/boiled wool dress and despite it being a mens' jacket fit pretty well.  Not sure what that says about my own size or Japanese menswear sizing.  I was also playing an old/new contrast of my own with Brook & Lyn's 'Night' version of her body necklace and its black rope evoking Chinese costume detailing, up against bright orange neoprene. 

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(Worn with See by Chloe bag via Beso, Luella shoes)

Speaking of crayola brights, Steve also got in on the Opening Ceremony x Tron Legacy act with his blue shirt.  I'm not counting this as a matching outfit despite the fact that we both decided to break out with our joint support for an exceedingly joy-inducing clothing collaboration. 

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On a totally unrelated end note, it's the first time I've clapped my eyes on these jewel encrusted Giuseppe Zanotti for Christopher Kane jewel-encrusted shoes (also available at Browns) in person.  There could almost have been a church choir singing "Hallelujah" behind me as I approached them and all shoes beside them blurred into nothingness… 

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23 comments

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  1. Dru

    2010-12-03 at 12:31 PM

    Nice choice of sport, Susie! This event sounds like a lot more fun than the usual poncey standing-around-with-a-drink that most fashion parties tend to, er, sound like….
    I can testify to the viciousness of air hockey, though- got my hand cut open by a puck once (and kept playing anyway, THAT is how addicted I used to be)

  2. ediot

    2010-12-03 at 12:38 PM

    hi darling! what a magical post. i love the livelyness to it.
    LOVE what you’re wearing. you’re so cute
    happy weekend
    xx

  3. Cindy

    2010-12-03 at 1:57 PM

    Hey Susie!!!
    It was so nice meeting you last night!! i’ve put up our pic on my blog!! come have a look!
    When will you leave hong kong?
    xx
    Cdy

  4. Doni Brown

    2010-12-03 at 2:24 PM

    Amazing Post! I love these types of post! Love your outfit too!
    http://thefreakoffashion.blogspot.com

  5. Angga Heinrich

    2010-12-03 at 3:10 PM

    oh such amazing day!! it look like it was filled with fun and great shoes!! omg that leopard booties!! I want all of them
    <3
    http://reserveradefashion.blogspot.com

  6. Laura Connell

    2010-12-03 at 3:40 PM

    Thanks for letting us in on this fun event and congrats on your loot.
    The colour combo you are wearing is my new fixation. I actually blogged about it yesterday. I adore your outfit choices and live vicariously through you as I am much more conservative but still appreciate others who take risks.
    Those leopard print booties have been seen on the feet of many a celeb lately including Gwen Stefani.

  7. ttv

    2010-12-03 at 3:46 PM

    Oh that’s fun.

  8. rouli

    2010-12-03 at 3:59 PM

    amazin post here!
    love love love

  9. Brandon Acton-Bond

    2010-12-03 at 8:01 PM

    Oh Susie that looks like so much fun! Lane Crawford is probably my favourite real department store in the whole world so congrats to them! What do you think about the rumours of Sarah Rutson leaving for Barneys?

  10. Megan Meenan

    2010-12-03 at 8:42 PM

    that top your wearing is amazing, Im in love with that dress also and those shoes i agree are immense !! gorgeous ,
    http://myheadandwardrobe.blogspot.com/

  11. Tiffany

    2010-12-03 at 11:54 PM

    <3 <3
    XOXO,
    Find out all celebrity fashion and where to get it at http://outfitidentifier.com/

  12. The Clothes Horse

    2010-12-04 at 1:06 AM

    I love your outfit matches the games! And a flurry of activity (disappearing arms) is probably how I will picture you forever!

  13. Annie

    2010-12-04 at 2:06 AM

    My first time visiting your blog, I must say Interesting outfit Susie! I totally agree with you on the cheong sam, AP’s best work yet 😛 So lucky you’re in Hong Kong, I haven’t been there in ages, miss it all the time! Will be visiting your blog often now 😉
    -Annie

  14. vanessa

    2010-12-04 at 3:34 AM

    I love this blog. The party looks so fun, ad that jacket was destined for you. Oh, and the shoes are so fun. I love the flowers.
    My Heart Blogged

  15. Sophie

    2010-12-04 at 6:55 AM

    Great shoes!

  16. Trendy Style

    2010-12-04 at 11:23 AM

    This event sounds really very interesting and fashion and trendy too … All your outfit matches the games perfect…https://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=batch_download&send_id=817789614&email=7cff47bb7cdcb76fbfa15e66c81a1961 My heart wishes to u all ..Congrats for blogging such a wonderfull stuffs…

  17. Emma Winn

    2010-12-04 at 1:22 PM

    love ur lipstick colour it makes u look cheeky 🙂
    http://winnsomesmile.blogspot.com/

  18. Suzie Bee

    2010-12-04 at 1:25 PM

    I adore the invitations – they are so cute! M and I are thinking of hosting a Chinese or Japanese dinner party and they’re perfect. *Steals idea!*

  19. blog mode

    2010-12-04 at 2:20 PM

    the lace dress is stunning !

  20. Maryjane

    2010-12-04 at 3:58 PM

    Oh the shoes, the lace dress, the party and your crazy colored outfit- cool.
    Maryjane xoxo

  21. Sum-Sum Tse

    2010-12-04 at 5:41 PM

    Thanks so much for taking the time to give us a mention. We totally appreciate it. The lights were turned on so bright that night, it didn’t really show the installation at its best.
    Muah!!!

  22. eve meredith

    2010-12-05 at 3:35 AM

    hello! you’re dress and necklace combination is lovely; that necklace goes really well with everything doesn’t it?
    I have been following your blog for tiiime… but now that i have my own blog just thought i’d inform you thaat…i’m moving on? noo no no! i thought i’d give you a look in, before everyone else comes barging in of course!
    haaaha not likely, its mainly just to showcase inspiration and the projects/collections i’m doing currently on my womenswear course…if you’re interested, have a lil look-see
    xxxxxxx
    http://evemeredith.blogspot.com/

  23. Gattaldo

    2011-01-19 at 10:58 AM

    Love the papercut installation by Sum Sum Tse and Pauline Yau! I have been experimenting myself with paper cutting (see here http://www.indulgencedivine.com )

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